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  • Writer's pictureVingt Sept

Micro feathering – How To Get Brows Like Joan Smalls

Beauty Feature

Ladies throw away your pencils, brow kits and stop the microblading, as there’s a new technique in town!

We have all seen the catwalk embracing a bushy brow since Cara Delevingne debuted her iconic pair on the runway in 2009… but what about those of us who have not been graced with full brows to start with? Who are heavily reliant on cosmetics to create that look? Well, we’ve got you, girl.

Samantha Trace is the UK’s leading Browologist and Aesthetician who has been performing the art of the brow for 18 years, with a catalogue of high profile clients vouching for her. Specialising in eyebrow design, working with a variety of clients from the A-list to running a specialist clinic for reconstructive brows (for alopecia sufferers and cancer survivors), Samantha can be found at London salon’s Michael Van Clarke, Blush and Blow and her flagship clinic in West Sussex.

This Browologist is also known best for her correction work whilst utilising the latest technologies to rectify any previous work, where clients have uneven brows or even tattoo nightmares, specialising in trying to reduce the appearance of poor work, whilst correcting the work done to give the client a fresh natural look. You can see already why she has been named as Cosmopolitans ‘Go to Brow Artist of 2018’.

No more stress, now bin those brow pencils

I was lucky enough to meet her in the trendy Michael Van Clarke salon for this treatment, greeted warmly and informed, ‘I won’t just do any shape of brow, it’s really got to enhance and compliment the clients facial features and look natural’; surely a great sign that I am in the best hands, so, sorry Instabrows, this is not the ‘tweakment’ for you.

So first, let's get to the basics – what is the difference between “Microblading” and “Microfeathering”?

Microblading is a semi-permanent tattoo technique and quite simply covers a large surface area of the brow, to give a thicker appearance. The strokes are fine and straight to create a fuller brow and last between 1-3 years.

Micro feathering is birthed from Microblading; the hair strokes are far more natural with a 3D curvature. The ‘feathered’ blade used for the hair strokes provides finer pigmented strokes to mimic the natural brow hair on the client and is on a much smaller surface area than Microblading.

The first part of the appointment included a thorough brow consultation. I know my brows very well and wanted to replicate the amazing Joan Smalls perfect eyebrows, which have a slightly high arch to frame the face and messy imperfect fine hairs at the beginning of the brow.

Samantha was happy with the shape and felt that this would also suit my features paying attention to my cheekbones and eyes. She then proceeded to draw the outline and shape of the brow. To add to her perfectionism, technology was used to ensure symmetry and equality with the shape. This is what makes Sam unique in her craft; she is highly fascinated with symmetry and coming from a family of tattoo artists it’s integral to her work… ‘I am quite OCD when it comes to making them identical…’

The blade used was shown and it is clear where the feathered indentations are; this is the key to this technique, as I am told the strokes from the blade should not be different to real hair strokes and clear to the eye. The treatment was 90 minutes in total including the in-depth brow consultation (I would say bring an example of the brows you wish to grace that face!) and was completely pain-free thanks to Samantha having a license to administer local anaesthetic to the area before the procedure.

Aftercare and advice is provided, including a specially formulated ‘Brow Balm’ to help reduce flaking, which is common as the body attempts to reject the pigment. A cool pair of ‘brow visors’ are also given for showering to protect those furry friends from water and it is advisable to avoid using makeup on the brow, for at least 10 days following the first treatment.

My brows looked fantastic – natural and fuller, which is exactly what I needed after years of filling them in with products. By Day 3 some hairs had fallen out, which I initially panicked about; however, this is a natural process following the first treatment. What I did not expect was that by Day 10 this process appeared to reverse itself and my brows were back and looking better than ever! Incredibly natural and dryness was minimal.

A top-up treatment is recommended 4-6 weeks following the first, to fine-tune any strokes lost and to ensure longevity with the brows ensuring they last between 12-18 months. This session was around 45 minutes long with Samantha, replicating the same technique from session 1.


The brows are still in place and the strokes are completely undetectable to the human eye and mimic my natural brow hair. They are very natural and indeed I do have the ‘Joan Smalls’ brow.

Verdict 9/10

Downtime – none

Price – Reasonable for results. Prices start from £400

Samantha Trace runs London clinics at Michael Van Clarke and Blush and Blow. She also runs a busy clinic in West Sussex.

For further information please visit


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